Prince Harry Joins $1.7bn US Counseling Startup

 

Britain’s Prince Harry on Tuesday added to a growing portfolio of post-royal jobs, becoming “chief impact officer” at a San Francisco startup that provides mobile-based coaching, counseling, and mentorship.

Amid a highly public spat with Buckingham Palace, Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle, a mixed-race former television actress, now live in California after stepping away from royal duties.

An explosive interview they gave to Oprah Winfrey this month — in which they claimed an unnamed royal had asked how dark their baby’s skin would be — plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the death of Harry’s mother, princess Diana, in 1997.

In his new role with BetterUp, the Duke of Sussex will champion the importance of maximizing human potential worldwide, according to chief executive Alexi Robichaux.

“I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritizing our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us,” Prince Harry said in a BetterUp blog post.

“As the Royal Marine Commandos say, ‘It’s a state of mind.’ We all have it in us.”

READ ALSO: President Biden Calls For Assault Weapon Ban After Colorado Shooting

BetterUp’s platform combines behavioral science, artificial intelligence, and human coaching to optimize personal growth and professional development, according to the company, which last month announced it had raised $125 million in funding at a valuation of $1.73 billion.

In his new job, the prince — who said he had used the BetterUp platform himself — will not manage employees or have direct reports, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 2013, BetterUp has grown to more than 270 employees and a network of some 2,000 coaches.

A list of its clients included NASA, Chevron, Mars, Genentech, Snap, and Warner Media.

Since leaving their roles as working royals, Harry and Meghan have already signed lucrative digital media deals to capitalize on their celebrity — one to produce content for Netflix, and another to present podcasts for Spotify.

They have spoken of their desire “to do something of meaning, to do something that matters,” in California, where they have launched a wide-ranging non-profit organization named Archewell.

The couple have worked with a charity to hand out meals to chronically ill people in Los Angeles, and Markle — whose mother is Black — spoke out last year after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American killed in police custody.

Demand for coaching focused on employee well-being and development has grown “significantly” in the past year, according to BetterUp.

“Self-optimization is not about fixing something that’s broken,” Prince Harry said.

“It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, with whatever life throws at us — someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence, and self-awareness.”

LeBron James Injury Rocks Lakers In Loss To Hawks, Depleted 76ers Cruise Past Kings

 

LeBron James crashed out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 99-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Saturday with a right ankle injury that will sideline the NBA superstar indefinitely.

The Lakers superstar collapsed to the Staples Center court in agony after a collision with Atlanta’s Solomon Hill in the second quarter, crying out in pain and clutching his right ankle.

The 36-year-old returned briefly to hit a three-pointer before limping back to the locker room, knocking over a chair in frustration.

ESPN later reported that an MRI scan revealed a high ankle sprain and that James faced an “indefinite” injury layoff.

Depending on the severity, high ankle sprains can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months to recover from.

James did not speak to reporters, but tweeted later that he would return as soon as possible.

“Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates!” James wrote. “I’m hurt inside and out right now. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left.”

A lengthy layoff for James would be a devastating blow to the reigning champion Lakers, who are already without star Anthony Davis as he recovers from Achilles tendon trouble.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge any time you’re undermanned,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But if you play team-first basketball and you defend at our level you’ll have a chance to win and that’ll be our mindset.”

Lakers team-mates Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell admitted that the sight of James leaving the arena was unnerving.

“We do forget he’s human sometimes, to see him in pain like that,” said Harrell, who was unhappy with Hill’s dive for the ball that led to James’s injury.

“We don’t feel like it was one of those basketball-type plays,” Harrell said. “He had to go through his leg to get the ball.”

With James missing, the Lakers offense struggled to get in the groove as the Hawks — fueled by 27 points and 16 rebounds from John Collins — notched their eighth straight victory, the longest active streak in the league.

The Lakers fell to 28-14 to remain in second place in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz.

The Hawks improved to 22-20, tied for fourth with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference led by the Philadelphia 76ers — who beat the Sacramento Kings 129-105 despite the absences of three injured starters.

Shortly before tipoff, the Sixers announced that Ben Simmons would be sidelined with a sore left knee.

Joel Embiid missed his fourth straight game with a bone bruise in his left knee and Seth Curry was out with a sprained left ankle.

Tobias Harris led the Sixers with 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Shake Milton added 28 points and Danny Green chipped in 18.

Despite the lack of star-power, the 76ers set an early tone, scoring 42 points in the first quarter. They led wire-to-wire, pushing their advantage to as many as 36 points.

The Milwaukee Bucks kept the accelerator down, notching their sixth straight victory 120-113 over the San Antonio Spurs.

Two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and a season-high 15 assists to go with eight rebounds for Milwaukee.

Khris Middleton scored 23 points and Jrue Holiday added 21.

– Grizzlies bounce back –
In Memphis, the Grizzlies got the better of short-handed Golden State, turning the tables on the Warriors a night after losing to them with a 111-103 victory.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

Dillon Brooks scored 19, Brandon Clarke scored 16, Ja Morant chipped in 14 with eight assists and the Grizzlies clamped down defensively in a tight fourth quarter to get the win.

The Warriors were without Stephen Curry for a second straight game as he recovers from a bruised tailbone. Kevon Looney, James Wiseman, and Eric Paschall were all sidelined by coronavirus contact tracing.

Billie Eilish Wins Grammys’ Record Of The Year

 

Billie Eilish on Sunday snagged the Grammy for Record of the Year for the second straight time, a major feat for the 19-year-old who swept all four top categories at last year’s ceremony.

This time, the edgy pop sensation bested a crowded field including the night’s big stars Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce, along with Dua Lipa, Post Malone, and Doja Cat, to win the prize honoring the year’s best overall song for her hit “Everything I Wanted.”

In 2020, the teenage phenom cemented her place as an establishment leader, posting a banner Grammy night by sweeping prizes for Album, Record, and Song of the Year, plus Best New Artist — the first woman and youngest artist to do so.

READ ALSO: #GRAMMYs: Nigerians Salute Burna Boy, ‘True African Giant, Twice As Tall’

“Everything I Wanted” is a gauzy ode to the struggles of stardom that touches on the teenage angst over feelings of inadequacy, imposter syndrome, and concerns about fitting in.

Last year, she won Record of the Year honors for her hit “Bad Guy” off her debut “when we all fall asleep, where do we go?”, which won for Album of the Year.

Before her album’s release in March 2019, Eilish had already won a fervent online following for her bold, often haunting pop sound featuring heavy bass and tinges of trap and electronic dance music.

She is now one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and though the pandemic forced her to cancel her global tour, she still posted a strong year that included penning the theme ballad for the upcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” — which also scored a Grammy on Sunday.

AFP

Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ Wins Grammy For Album Of The Year

 

Pop powerhouse Taylor Swift won the Grammy for Album of the Year for “folklore,” her first of two quarantine records — the third time she has won the coveted trophy, putting her in rarefied company.

Swift bested contenders including Post Malone, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, sister act Haim, and the Black Pumas to win the award.

Only three other artists have won Album of the Year three times — Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Frank Sinatra.

READ ALSO: Burna Boy Wins Grammy Award For Twice As Tall

It’s been a banner year for Swift, the one-time Grammy darling who surprised her legions of fans not once but twice during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, releasing “folklore” over the summer and “evermore” as an early holiday gift.

“folklore” — which earned the star six Grammy nominations — saw the famously introspective Swift delve into songwriting from the perspective of others, storytelling in the vein of American musical folk storytellers including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and the late John Prine.

Sunday’s big win marked a return to the Grammy spotlight for Swift, who appeared to have fallen out of grace with the Recording Academy in recent years.

Beyonce Breaks Grammy Record, Becomes Female Artist With Most Wins

 

Beyonce made Grammys history Sunday by becoming the winningest woman in the history of the music industry’s top awards gala, and its most decorated singer with 28 career wins.

She secured the record after winning Best R&B Song for her hit “Black Parade,” a single celebrating Black culture and activism that dropped in the wake of mass protests ignited by the death of George Floyd in police custody in the summer of 2020.

“I am so honored. I’m so excited. Thank you,” said the singer, who made a surprise showing at the gala she has skipped for the past several years.

“As an artist I believe it’s my job and all of our jobs to reflect our times. So I wanted to uplift, encourage, celebrate all of the beautiful Black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world,” she continued, wearing a curve-hugging black leather mini dress.

“It’s such a magical night, thank you so much,” Beyonce said, adding her gratitude to her children — after the eldest, Blue Ivy, won her first Grammy for her appearance in the music video “Brown Skin Girl.”

“I’m so honored to be your mommy, all of your mommies. Y’all are my babies. And I’m so proud of y’all. I love you so much, my rock,” she said, nodding to her husband, rapper Jay-Z.

READ ALSO: Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ Wins Grammy For Album Of The Year

It is a major moment for the 39-year-old Beyonce, whose repeated snubs in top award fields have raised eyebrows and stirred controversy.

She is the Grammy’s most nominated female artist ever with 79, tied with Paul McCartney as the second most nominated act and only one behind husband Jay-Z and industry legend Quincy Jones.

Prior to 2021, the megastar boasted 24 Grammy wins to her name — but notoriously lost Album of the Year in 2017 to British balladeer Adele, a controversial snub often cited as an example of the Recording Academy’s diversity issues.

Critics praised “Black Parade” for Beyonce’s strong vocals as well as its lyrics that simultaneously condemn racism, issue a call for activism and pay homage to Black culture.

Proceeds from the song benefit Beyonce’s Black Business Impact Fund, which supports Black-owned small businesses.

AFP

H.E.R. Wins Song Of The Year Grammy

In this screengrab, H.E.R. attends MusiCares: Music On A Mission Online Celebration and Fundraiser during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on March 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Arturo Holmes/Getty Images The Recording Academy/AFP Arturo Holmes / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

The soulful 23-year-old R&B performer H.E.R. pulled an upset in scooping the Grammy for Song of the Year on Sunday for her justice-minded song “I Can’t Breathe,” which tackles Black pain and police brutality.

The guitar virtuoso’s single — which debuted in June 2020 in the wake of mass anti-racism protests following the death in police custody of a Black man, George Floyd — bested competition from Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Billie Eilish to win top songwriting honors.

“I Can’t Breathe” is a phrase echoing the final words of Eric Garner, who died after New York police placed him in a chokehold while arresting him on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes.

Floyd, who died as a Minnesota policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, said the same words as he begged for mercy.

It has become an ubiquitous chant at Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, and in her bluesy song filled with wrenching lyricism, H.E.R. asks why the three words are so often met with indifference.

“I didn’t imagine that my fear and that my pain would turn into impact,” the musician said in accepting her trophy.

“I want to thank God for giving me the gift of a voice and a pen and using me as a vessel to create change,” she continued.

“Remember, we are the change that we wish to see, and that fight that we had in us, the summer of 2020 — keep that same energy.”

Prior to the 2021 gala, H.E.R. already had two Grammys under her belt.

Born Gabriella Wilson, the performer maintains an air of anonymity, often shielding herself behind bold, dark sunglasses and letting her velvety vocals speak for themselves.

The Californian — whose stage name is an acronym for “Having Everything Revealed” — was well-respected within the industry long before she broke into the mainstream. She recently performed “America The Beautiful” during the Super Bowl pregame show.

AFP

Megan Thee Stallion Wins Big As Pandemic Grammys Kick-Off

 

 

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion jumped quickly out of the gates at Sunday’s socially distanced Grammys, snaring two trophies including the prestigious Best New Artist prize at the music industry’s top awards show.

She shared her first statuette of the night, for Best Rap Performance, with pop queen and leading nominee Beyonce for the TikTok smash “Savage.”

The normally glam soiree hosted by comedian Trevor Noah was scaled back due to coronavirus restrictions, but was nevertheless in large part live, with a pack of stars performing on stages in the round in Los Angeles, including a chest-baring Harry Styles and bejeweled Billie Eilish.

The ceremony, which falls nearly a year to the day after Covid-19 grounded tours and forced performance venues to close, is an effort by the music world to try to move past a crushing 2020 by celebrating its biggest stars.

In the pre-broadcast ceremony, when many of the Grammys were handed out, Beyonce captured her first trophy of the day for Best Music Video, which she shared with her eldest daughter, Blue Ivy, who was in the clip for “Brown Skin Girl.”

The megastar did not Zoom in to accept the prize from the Recording Academy that many say has failed her in the past, with repeated snubs in past years for critically acclaimed work.

But Eilish and her brother and collaborator Finneas did appear to accept an award for “No Time To Die,” the theme from the forthcoming James Bond film of the same name.

They later performed her nominated hit “Everything I Wanted.”

Beyonce snagged her second prize for her collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion.

“Every artist that was nominated for this award is so amazing,” the statuesque artist, wearing a vivid orange Dolce and Gabbana gown with a hip-high slit, said outside the Staples Center on a balmy Los Angeles afternoon as she accepted the Best New Artist prize.

“It’s been a hell of a year but we made it.”

Beyonce’s sweeping “Black Parade” — released in June amid explosive nationwide anti-racism protests after another spate of deadly police violence targeting Black Americans — has her up for the coveted Record and Song of the Year awards that will be doled out later in the night.

Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, and Roddy Ricch each earned six nominations.

Swift and Lipa both lost in the field for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, however, which went to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain On Me.”

South Korean phenomenon BTS was also up for that prize; their loss dashed hopes for a historic win for Asian pop music from the Academy.

Many critics favor the overall chances of Lipa, who took a big risk in dropping a sparkly disco ball of a dance album just as the pandemic took hold — a bet that paid off.

Swift — a onetime Grammys darling who hasn’t won in five years — bagged her nominations for releasing her surprise quarantine album “folklore,” a commercial and critical hit.

And rapper Ricch — who won a trophy last year for his collaboration with the late artist Nipsey Hussle — is a strong contender, including for Song of the Year, which honors songwriting, for his hit “The Box.”

Nas, Strokes first-time winners

Brittany Howard — known for fronting the band Alabama Shakes — won Best Rock Song, as Fiona Apple scored two awards for her album “Fetch The Bolt Cutters,” which many critics hailed as a masterpiece.

The notoriously reclusive Apple said on Instagram she would not be attending the ceremony, explaining she was not up for the scrutiny attending such a show entails.

Though most of the rock fields were unprecedentedly dominated by women, The Strokes won for Best Rock Album for “The New Abnormal,” their first Grammy ever.

Rap legend Nas also won for the first time after 14 nominations, with his “King’s Disease” winning Best Rap Album.

Nigerian superstar Burna Boy was also a first-time winner for Best Global Music Album, ecstatically accepting the prize which he said “is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world.”

But it wouldn’t be the Grammys without controversy.

The Weeknd has pledged to stop submitting music for awards consideration after he surprisingly received no nominations, despite a big year commercially.

‘WAP’

Rapper DaBaby dripped in diamonds as he performed his nominated hit ‘Rockstar,” and Latin trap king Bad Bunny delivered a club-esque rendition of his hit “Dakiti.”

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion were set to bring their bawdy bop “WAP” — a summer hit that celebrates female sexuality with lurid metaphors — later in the show, with the artists also performing their respective tracks “Up” and “Body.”

“I can’t wait for everyone to see us kill it Tonight” Megan tweeted, after her fellow rapper congratulated her on her win.

AFP

Kanye Wins Grammy For Best Contemporary Christian Album

FILES) In this file photo taken on November 6, 2019 US rapper Kanye West attends the WSJ Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards at MOMA in New York City.  Angela Weiss / AFP

 

 

The mercurial Kanye West won his 22nd Grammy on Sunday, but not for his usual fare: the artist who skyrocketed to fame in the rap world now has a Christian music prize to his name.

West did not appear at the virtual ceremony to accept the award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for his 2019 release “Jesus Is King,” which is imbued with his message of evangelical salvation.

It was the first Grammy win for the Chicago-raised West since 2013, when he nabbed three Grammys in the rap categories.

The spotlight recently has shone on West more for his personal life than his art, after his partner of nearly a decade, Kim Kardashian, filed for divorce.

Before the news broke, their union had been dogged for months by reports of marital difficulties. West has battled with mental health issues, and launched an improbable and controversial foray into US presidential politics.

After years of hinting that he would drop a faith-based album, West released “Jesus Is King” in October 2019, in a year that saw him travel with his impromptu “Sunday Service” shows — a church-like concert series featuring gospel choirs.

West’s overt faith on his 2004 critically beloved hit “Jesus Walks” — which featured gospel wails and martial beats — did not prevent it from being played on non-Christian radio, marking a shift of sorts.

On “Jesus Is King,” elements of the old Yeezy appear — clever rhymes, catchy beats, smart samples — but the artist decidedly tilts the balance toward music with a stronger religious message.

“I been working for you my whole life / Told the devil that I’m goin’ on a strike,” West raps on “Hands On,” the ninth song on the 11-track album that features appearances from jazz saxophonist Kenny G and rapper Ty Dolla $ign.

In addition to the Grammy he won Sunday, West has also taken home several Billboard Music Awards in gospel categories, along with three Gospel Music Association prizes.

Beyonce, Megan Thee Stallion Win Early Grammys Ahead Of Main Gala

An unspecified screengrab released on March 14, Megan Thee Stallion accepts the Best Rap Performance award for ‘Savage’ (with Beyoncé) at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony broadcast. Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy/AFP

 

The Grammys kicked off on Sunday with two early prizes for leading nominee Beyonce, one thanks to her collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, the rap sensation who captured her first prize at the music industry’s top awards show.

The mostly virtual ceremony falls nearly a year to the day after Covid-19 grounded tours and forced performance venues to close, as the music world tries to move past a crushing 2020 with a celebration of its biggest stars.

The early ceremony preceding the main broadcast offered a hint at what the evening’s gala will look like, with a mix of live and pre-taped performances in keeping with restrictions now commonplace in the coronavirus era.

Beyonce captured her first trophy of the day for Best Music Video, an award she shared with her eldest daughter, Blue Ivy, who was in the clip for “Brown Skin Girl.”

The megastar did not Zoom in to accept the prize from the Recording Academy that many say has failed her in the past, with repeated snubs in past years for critically acclaimed work.

But Billie Eilish and her brother and collaborator Finneas did appear to accept an award for “No Time To Die,” the theme from the forthcoming James Bond film of the same name.

Beyonce snagged her second prize for her collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion, and has four more chances to win.

“Imma cry!” said Megan via video chat to accept the award for Best Rap Performance for “Savage,” fanning her eyes as she thanked Beyonce along with her late mother.

“Thank you Mama for pushing me and knowing that I was gonna be here,” the superstar rapper said.

“Thank you hotties, thank you Houston!” she continued, referring to her adoring fans and home city.

Beyonce’s sweeping “Black Parade” — released in June amid explosive nationwide anti-racism protests after another spate of deadly police violence targeting Black Americans — has her up for the coveted Record and Song of the Year awards that will be doled out near the gala’s end.

Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch each earned six nominations.

Swift and Lipa both lost in the field for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, however, which went to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain On Me.”

South Korean phenomenon BTS was also up for that prize; their loss dashed hopes for a historic win for Asian pop music from the Los Angeles-based Academy.

Many critics favor the overall chances of Lipa, who took a big risk in dropping a sparkly disco ball of a dance album just as the pandemic took hold — a bet that paid off.

Swift — a onetime Grammys darling who hasn’t won in five years — bagged her nominations for releasing her surprise quarantine album “folklore,” a commercial and critical hit.

And rapper Ricch — who won a trophy last year for his collaboration with the late artist Nipsey Hussle — is a strong contender, including for Song of the Year, which honors songwriting, for his hit “The Box.”

Nas, Strokes first-time winners

Brittany Howard — known for fronting the band Alabama Shakes — won Best Rock Song, as Fiona Apple scored two awards for her album “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”, which many critics hailed as a masterpiece.

The notoriously reclusive Apple said on Instagram she would not be attending the ceremony, explaining she was not up for the scrutiny attending such a show entails.

Though most of the rock fields were unprecedentedly dominated by women, The Strokes won for Best Rock Album for “The New Abnormal,” their first Grammy ever.

Rap legend Nas also won for the first time after 14 nominations, with his “King’s Disease” winning Best Rap Album.

Nigerian superstar Burna Boy was also a first-time winner for Best Global Music Album, ecstatically accepting the prize which he said “is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world.”

Megan Thee Stallion has three more chances to win, including for Best New Artist.

But it wouldn’t be the Grammys without controversy.

The Weeknd has pledged to stop submitting music for awards consideration after he surprisingly received no nominations, despite a big year commercially.

An honor

Grammys organizers are plugging performances as a reason to tune in Sunday night, bringing in heavyweights including Cardi B, Swift, Eilish, Lipa, Harry Styles, BTS and rapper DaBaby to light up screens.

Megan Thee Stallion hinted that she and Cardi might perform their mega-hit “WAP” — a bawdy summer smash that celebrates female sexuality, and whose performance would almost certainly require censoring — during the main event.

“I can’t wait for everyone to see us kill it Tonight” Megan tweeted, after her fellow rapper congratulated her on her win.

Latin trap superstar Bad Bunny will also appear, as well as country stars Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Mickey Guyton — who was the first Black woman ever nominated in the country category, but lost to Vince Gill.

“Although I didn’t win this Grammy, it truly is an honor and I will forever be a Grammy-nominated artist. I love you guys,” the artist tweeted.

Comedian Trevor Noah is set to host Sunday’s show, which the Academy has dedicated to the resilience of the music industry as well as frontline workers combatting the spread of Covid-19.

AFP

Key Nominees For The 2021 Grammy Awards

A Photo Combo showing Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Beyonce, Dua Lipa, and Taylor Swift.

 

Here is a list of nominees in the major categories for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday.

Beyonce leads the pack with nine nominations, followed by Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, and rapper Roddy Ricch with six each.

Album of the Year

Jhene Aiko, “Chilombo”

Black Pumas, “Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)”

Coldplay, “Everyday Life”

Jacob Collier, “Djesse Vol. 3”

Haim, “Women In Music Pt. III”

Dua Lipa, “Future Nostalgia”

Post Malone, “Hollywood’s Bleeding”

Taylor Swift, “folklore”

Record of the Year, recognizing overall performance on a song

Beyonce, “Black Parade”

Black Pumas, “Colors”

DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar”

Doja Cat, “Say So”

Billie Eilish, “Everything I Wanted”

Dua Lipa, “Don’t Start Now”

Post Malone, “Circles”

Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyonce, “Savage”

Song of the Year, recognizing songwriting

Beyonce, Denisia Andrews, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk and Rickie “Caso” Tice, “Black Parade”

Roddy Ricch and Samuel Gloade, “The Box”

Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner, “Cardigan”

Post Malone, Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk and Billy Walsh, “Circles”

Dua Lipa, Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick and Emily Warren, “Don’t Start Now”

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, “Everything I Wanted”

H.E.R., Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas, “I Can’t Breathe”

Julia Michaels and JP Saxe, “If The World Was Ending”

Best New Artist

Ingrid Andress

Phoebe Bridgers

Chika

Noah Cyrus

D Smoke

Doja Cat

Kaytranada

Megan Thee Stallion

– Best Music Video –
Beyonce, “Brown Skin Girl”

Future featuring Drake, “Life Is Good”

Anderson .Paak, “Lockdown”

Harry Styles, “Adore You”

Woodkid, “Goliath”

Best Rap Album

D Smoke, “Black Habits”

Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, “Alfredo”

Jay Electronica, “A Written Testimony”

Nas, “King’s Disease”

Royce Da 5’9″, “The Allegory”

Best Rock Album

Fontaines DC, “A Hero’s Death”

Michael Kiwanuka, “Kiwanuka”

Grace Potter, “Daylight”

Sturgill Simpson, “Sound & Fury”

The Strokes, “The New Abnormal”

Best Pop Vocal Album

Justin Bieber, “Changes”

Lady Gaga, “Chromatica”

Dua Lipa, “Future Nostalgia”

Harry Styles, “Fine Line”

Taylor Swift, “folklore”

Best Alternative Music Album

Fiona Apple, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”

Beck, “Hyperspace”

Phoebe Bridgers, “Punisher”

Brittany Howard, “Jaime”

Tame Impala, “The Slow Rush”

Best Global Music Album

Antibalas, “Fu Chronicles”

Burna Boy, “Twice as Tall”

Bebel Gilberto, “Agora”

Anoushka Shankar, “Love Letters”

Tinariwen, “Amadjar”

AFP

Why The US Has The Highest COVID-19 Death Toll

A coronavirus test site worker on site to answer questions from people arriving at a testing center in Los Angeles, California on December 16, 2020. – The situation has grown severe across southern parts of California, which was praised for its response at the start of the pandemic in spring, but which has seen Covid-related hospital admissions soar sixfold since mid-October. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

 

 

The United States crossed the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, a year since announcing its first known death from the virus on February 29, 2020 in the Seattle area.

Why does the world’s leading power have the highest death toll and what lessons are American health specialists learning from the past year?

Here, infectious disease experts Joseph Masci and Michele Halpern provide answers to some of the key questions.

Masci, 70, is one of the leaders of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which was at the heart of New York’s epidemic.

Halpern is a specialist at the Montefiore hospital group in New Rochelle, a New York suburb where the epidemic arrived in force in February 2020.

– Why has the United States been hit so hard? –
Prior to this pandemic, the United States observed coronaviruses “from a distance,” explained Masci.

“There was SARS in Canada but very little or none in this country. There was no MERS here at all,” he said.

“There was a lot of preparation made for Ebola coming to the United States, and it never really did.

“Suddenly this (coronavirus) was a problem where the United States was the epicenter.”

Masci said it was difficult to compare the United States with other countries.

“I think smaller countries that had structured health care services had a good chance of bringing things into play quickly.

“In a country like ours, with 50 independent states, and a huge landmass, with largely a private hospital system, it is always going to be difficult to get everybody on board with one particular set of strategies,” he explained.

Masci added that Donald Trump’s administration had a “haphazard approach”, which did not help.

“The fact that hospitals were competing with each other to get personal protective equipment didn’t make sense. They had to centralize all of that very quickly and they didn’t.

“It was a struggle to try to deal with those obstacles that were put up,” he said.

Masci and Halpern rue that mask-wearing was politicized.

“It’s purely a health care issue,” said Masci, adding that it is going to be difficult for the federal government to “reframe” that message.

Halpern insists that people should not see mask-wearing as “infringing” on their freedom.

“There are other things we do routinely that you could say infringe our liberties like wearing a seatbelt or running through a red light,” she said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University tally, another 1,297 virus-related deaths were reported on Monday in the United States.

– What are the main lessons to be learned from the crisis? –
For Masci, the most important lesson was to learn how to reconfigure hospitals to make them able to cope with a sudden influx of patients.

“Now… instead of 12 hot ICU beds, you have to have 150. Where do you get them? Who do you staff on with? So now we’ve learned this lesson.” he said.

Masci said the group of public hospitals of which Elmhurst is a part found strategies to distribute the burden among NYC’s 11 public hospitals by transferring patients very quickly.

“We’ve turned from one hospital with 500 beds, to 11 hospitals with about 5,000 beds. It’s worked very nicely.”

More generally, Halpern says the pandemic has made everyone realize that “hospitals need resources.”

“You have to invest in research, but you also have to invest in hospitals, in nursing homes. They have to have enough staff, they have to have the equipment that they need and the personnel has to be happy,” she added.

The epidemic has also sharply exposed inequalities, not just in health care but also in housing, with Black and Latino communities dying in disproportionately high numbers.

“We have to look at housing, and how it can be better suited to handling future epidemics. There are others coming,” said Masci.

– Will we still be wearing masks in December? –
Vaccines are rolling out but health experts are cautious due to uncertainties surrounding the British and South African variants of the virus.

Masci says that if the variant strains don’t turn into a huge problem and once we’ve reached the point where 70-80 percent of the population is vaccinated then “there’s a good chance” we won’t wear masks anymore.

“(But) suppose these variant strains do take hold, become more of a problem, are vaccine resistant, and we’re all closing schools and putting masks and locking down again in a few months, (then) it’s a lot harder to say by December, ‘We’ll be out of the woods.'”

Halpern says it’s reassuring that the second wave was largely controlled, in New York at least.

“I have hopes that the vaccines will be effective and will tamper future waves. But it’s hard to be sure whether our vaccines will be effective in the longer term, or on new variants. I don’t think anyone knows that.

“So we have to be prepared that we’re in this for a while,” she said.

In the long term, Masci says countries must not “fall into the trap” of forgetting about the pandemic once it has passed.

“It is unnerving to think that this came without warning. It’s caused so much restructuring of everything.

“We have to have a more meticulous global search for new pathogens because we’re living in a time now where there is no, ‘Something is happening in Asia and it’s not going to happen in America.'”

Boeing Calls For Grounding Of Some 777s After Denver Engine Fire

An American Airlines Boeing 777 passenger plane is seen over the Courtyard by Marriott London Heathrow Airport hotel taking off from London Heathrow Airport in west London on February 14, 2021. 
An American Airlines Boeing 777 passenger plane is seen over the Courtyard by Marriott London Heathrow Airport hotel taking off from London Heathrow Airport in west London on February 14, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Boeing called for the grounding of 128 of its 777 planes across the world on Sunday as US regulators investigated a United Airlines flight whose engine caught fire and fell apart over a suburban American community.

United, Korean Air, and Japan’s two main airlines confirmed they had already suspended operations of 62 planes fitted with the same family of engines which scattered debris over Denver on Saturday.

The US National Transportation and Safety Board is also investigating the incident, in which no one was hurt.

Boeing warned similarly fitted planes should be taken out of service until the Federal Aviation Authority had determined an inspection procedure.

“While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines,” the company said.

Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) said they had respectively grounded 13 and 19 planes using PW4000 engines but had avoided flight cancelations by using other aircraft.

The Japanese transport ministry said it had ordered stricter inspections of the engine after a JAL 777 plane flying from Haneda to Naha experienced trouble with “an engine in the same family” in December.

United said it had voluntarily removed 24 Boeing 777 planes from service and expected “only a small number of customers to be inconvenienced.”

South Korea’s transport ministry said it had no immediate plans to ground planes, adding it was monitoring the situation.

But Korean Air, the country’s largest airline and flag carrier, said it had grounded all six of its Boeing 777s with PW4000 engines currently in operation.

“We have decided to ground all our PW 4000 powered 777s, and we expect the FAA’s updated protocol soon,” the company told AFP in an emailed statement.

The FAA earlier ordered extra inspections of some passenger jets.

Steve Dickson, the head of the regulator, said he had consulted with experts and that some airplanes would “likely” be removed from service.

“I have directed them to issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that would require immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines,” he said in a statement.

Dickson added that a preliminary safety data review pointed to a need for additional checks of the jet engine’s fan blades, which were unique to the engine model and only used on 777 planes.

Officials from the FAA were meeting with Pratt & Whitney and Boeing representatives on Sunday evening, he added.

Fresh blow for Boeing

Flight UA328 had been headed from Denver to Honolulu when it experienced an engine failure shortly after departure.

Residents in the Denver suburb of Broomfield found large pieces of the plane scattered around their community.

No one onboard or on the ground was injured.

But the engine failure marks a fresh blow for Boeing after several high-profile aviation accidents.

The manufacturer’s 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after 346 people died in two crashes — the 2019 Lion Air disaster in Indonesia and an Ethiopian Airlines crash the following year.

Investigators said a main cause of both crashes was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

Boeing was forced to revamp the system and implement new pilot training protocols.

The 737 MAX was a big hit with airlines, becoming Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft until its grounding, which has now been lifted.

After the Covid-19 crisis decimated demand, airlines canceled hundreds of orders for the plane.